Social media has proven itself to be a powerful self-promotion tool – the type of self-marketing that was once only available to the rich and famous is now available to all. Unless you want it to, it’s not about becoming the latest influencer with a million followers, it’s about becoming known to the right people in the right place.
In a time of increased unemployment, standing out from the crowd is more important than ever. In this article we’ll tell you exactly how.
What is a social media profile?
When we talk about social media we’re talking about any online presence. When it comes to professional social media, first thoughts often turn to LinkedIn – the professional social network.
Do think about your professional online presence compared to your personal one. You may not want your new boss seeing the family holiday snaps or Friday night out, in which case I recommend your privacy settings are secure for anything you don’t want seen.
Which social networks you want to present your professional image will depend on your industry, in the more creative industries Instagram may be where you want to be. Profiles on GitHub or GitLab may be more appropriate in tech. Don’t rule out Facebook which can be particularly useful for joining industry groups, staying up to date and networking – we’ll talk more about that later.
You may also consider having a blog or YouTube channel. All of these can be suitable professional networks. Simply consider what you want to use to present your professional image and ensure it is professional.
It’s so important that I’ll say it again – if you don’t want your new boss to see it – lock it down using the appropriate privacy settings!
1. A professional headshot
Consider the first impression you want to give – just like when you turn up to an interview. Smart, looking professional but also friendly and approachable. Exactly what friendly and professional looks like will depend on your industry but whatever the industry, this is not your passport photo, you absolutely should smile!
When it comes to social media, you’re in a crowd of hundreds – wear bright clothing that contrasts with your background to really make yourself standout.
2. A headline that sells
On LinkedIn it’s the headline, Twitter and Facebook it’s the Bio. Use these to tell people what you are looking for.
If you’re able to openly promote looking for work you have an advantage here – make your headline your own, use all the space available and be clear.
Commonly people put their job title here and there are times when that is appropriate, I’m not knocking it. But, if you’re a HR Administrator looking for an HR Advisor role you don’t want people searching for “HR Administrator” to find you. A headline along the lines of “currently looking for my next role at HR Advisor level”.
In many of the social platforms your profiles are searchable. Think about the keywords someone might be searching if they are looking to employ someone like you and use these in your Headlines, Bio and throughout your profile.
In LinkedIn you get the best opportunity to showcase your experience, your personality, skills and what you’re looking for. Did you know that you can have more than one current role? If your role consists of distinct different parts, each of which may be of interest to different people then separate them out and show them as different roles. As an example, as a HR Manager you may also be the inhouse Trainer, Health and Safety Officer or First Aider – these can be listed as separate roles. Consider keywords when you present your job titles, if the company you worked for used internal job titles that were unique to them and not understood outside the business then use a more appropriate job title that people will understand.
4. A profile that matches your CV
LinkedIn can look like a CV, many treat it as a CV – it is so much more than that. I’ve already said you need to a headline that sells and keywords.
There is a balance to be had, whilst LinkedIn is different to a CV, it’s more dynamic and brings opportunities, your LinkedIn profile (and any other profile) should match up to your CV. If you apply for a role and the recruiter looks at your social profiles they should recognise you and it certainly must not contradict.
This can be the hardest one as it requires the goodwill of others, but you should try to get past colleagues, managers and/or customers to write a testimonial or endorse you for skills.
Writing testimonials for others can prompt them to write for you. Many companies have policies of not allowing managers to write testimonials, however, if your old boss has now moved on they may be more willing and able to write a testimonial. Reach out and ask!
6. Evidence of Work
Social media gives you the opportunity to showcase your work – use it. Many of the networks allow pinned or featured content which is shown first to anyone looking at your profile.
Talk about what you’ve achieved in your roles and include evidence. If you’ve written an article or created something that can be photographed let future employers see it.
7. Connect with the right people
Making an impact on social media isn’t just about having a great profile, it puts you in the driving seat.
Search out the people you want to work for, get to know people and companies. Many jobs are never even advertised. If a hiring manager has already spotted someone ideal for the role a company can save a lot of money on recruitment costs.
Equally people will share job adverts in their feed. 4 years ago I got a role after seeing someone mention it in the feed – I happened to be connected to someone who worked for the company who were recruiting, they shared the post and I applied.
Many business owners are beginning to recognise the benefits of building an employer brand, connecting with potential employees and promoting themselves as someone to work for. Seek out those people, find out about companies and decide whether you want to work for them.
8. Write Articles and Posts
There is no point having a social media profile and quietly expecting something to happen. Whichever platform you’re on, it’s busy, there are lots of people – you won’t get noticed if you never say anything.
Show your personality and understanding of your industry by posting interesting and engaging posts. Write blogs and share them or use LinkedIn’s articles to write long form articles. They all serve to get you noticed and show off your style, knowledge and talents.
If you really want to stand out from the crowd do what less people are doing, create videos or infographics.
9. Share and Engage
Possibly even more important than writing your own posts, sharing and engaging with others. Commenting on other peoples posts gets you seen and shows you can engage in the debate.
Share interesting articles or posts of others and add your opinion to the post. Sharing articles show you are keeping up to date and engaged with your industry.
Commenting on people’s posts will be appreciated by the author, they will value your contribution and engagement on their posts helps them get seen.
Joining industry groups on Facebook and LinkedIn can be a great way to keep up to date, engage with people and hear about job opportunities.
Social media is about being social – use it for what it is for and you will stand out from the crowd!
Social media provides a great opportunity for you to sell yourself. Opitimise your profile, don’t hold back, make sure future employers can find you and when they do they can clearly see why they should employ you.
Then get out there, post and engage with others posts. Be part of the conversation, get yourself noticed. Send connection requests or follow those you want to engage with.
If you’re job hunting, time spent on your professional social networks is time spent marketing yourself and looking for opportunities, it’s certainly not time wasted.